Xylitol Danger for Dogs – Which Oral Hygiene Products Are Safe to Use ?
Regular teeth cleaning is the best way to prevent plaque and tartar built-up on your dog’s teeth. Usually you would take a specially toothbrush and toothpaste made for canines and wean him preferably to a daily routine. You may have heard that you should never use human tooth cleaning products, as they contain substances that are OK for humans, but not for dogs.
Xylitol is actually a sugar replacement or sweetener widely used in zero-calorie-products that range from chewing gums to cookies. Dr Eric Barchas published on The Vet Blog another type of product that often contains xylitol:
“I have never been a fan of commercial water additives or topical oral products that purport to prevent dental disease in dogs, because I’ve never encountered one that works. However, a recent inquiry from a reader alerted me to a new threat: some commercial “plaque reducers” contain toxic xylitol…”
Xylitol is famously toxic to dogs. Xylitol in the bloodstream tricks some dogs’ bodies into thinking that it is real sugar. These dogs then react as if their blood sugar is too high, their bodies release insulin to lower their blood sugar, and their real blood sugar levels crash dangerously low. Low blood sugar levels from xylitol ingestion can lead to coma, seizures, and death. I know one person whose dog required five days of intensive care and continuous sugar infusions.
But sadly, the horrors of xylitol toxicity don’t end there. Some dogs that consume it will suffer liver damage or life-threatening liver failure. The cause has not been definitively determined, but the threat has been well documented. Adding xylitol to human plaque reducers makes sense. However, adding it to canine ones is insanity. Would any manufacturer actually add a known toxin to a canine product? Source here.
Which products can be safely used for dogs?
There are quite a few products available that do not endanger your dog’s health through added xylitol. Below are two preparations listed that are used and recommended by many dog owners.